Direct Reporting by Radiologists Has Positive Impact on Patients’ Experience

Leesburg, VA, December 12, 2017—Although most radiologists typically have little direct interaction with patients, direct patient reporting by the radiologist is feasible in a high-volume head and neck clinic and has a positive impact on the patient experience, according to a study set for the January 2018 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

Using a novel patient-centric approach, the authors assessed the impact of direct patient radiology reporting on the patient experience and patient perception of radiologists in a high-volume head and neck clinic. Twenty-seven patients at a high-volume head and neck clinic were surveyed before and after experiencing a one-on-one consultation with a radiologist, who explained the role of radiology in patient care and reviewed the patient’s images.

Led by Sheila K. Mohan of Emory University Hospital, the researchers found an improved understanding of the role of the radiologist — 41% of patients before consultation compared with 67% after consultation. After having a consultation with the radiologists, fewer patients (56–22%) wanted to hear from the referring physician only, and more patients wanted to hear from the radiologist only (26–44%) or from both the referring physician and the radiologist (19–33%).

A total of 70–93% of patients had an improved understanding of imaging findings and follow-up recommendations after meeting with the radiologist. Most patients expressed an interest in reviewing future studies with a radiologist (93%) and found the consultation helpful (96%).

The authors cited as major factors that enabled direct patient reporting included access to an embedded reading room and the use of a standardized reporting template. They concluded that direct patient reporting of imaging results by a radiologist is feasible, even in a high-volume setting, because it typically requires only 10 minutes or less. “Patients had an improved understanding of imaging results and how they affected management. The post-consultation shift to more patients wanting to hear results from both the head and neck surgeon and radiologist supports a multidisciplinary, collaborative team approach,” the authors stated.

In addition, direct patient reporting not only promotes and increases awareness of the radiological field, but patients experience benefit from this interaction, the authors said. Two additional studies cited by the authors found that patients had a significant decrease in anxiety after reviewing results with radiologists, although this may have been attributed to the consultation occurring immediately after the scan.

Founded in 1900, ARRS is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States, and is an international forum for progress in radiology. The Society's mission is to improve health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills in radiology. ARRS achieves its mission through an annual scientific and educational meeting, publication of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) and InPractice magazine, topical symposia and webinars, and print and online educational materials. ARRS is located in Leesburg, VA.